TNC Media Update
In June, Paul Lewin and I were in New York City for meetings
and to stand with New Yorkers that meet each week to protest
the Rockefeller Drug Laws at Rockefeller Center. That is where
we met our "Grampa" in person for the first time. We
knew him already; most of us grew up with him while watching
the TV series The Munsters. We knew that he was actively opposing
the drug laws, we knew that he cared about our plight, but the
depth of his passion for prisoners is something that was profoundly
evident after spending just a few moments with him.
'Grampa' Al Lewis
By Nora Callahan, Executive
Director, November Coalition
Every Friday at noon, he and Randy Credico lead the "Vigil
to End the Rockefeller Drug Laws" that is sponsored by the
William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice.
Before we left the meeting, Grampa invited us to be guests
on his WBAI radio show (99.5 FM) the following day, an offer
that we accepted straight away.
Requests for The Razor Wire are pouring into Grampa's mailbox
and are being forwarded to our office. Al Lewis and his wife,
Karen would like to ask prisoners to send them any messages that
you would like to have them read over the air, or placed on audio
files on their website. To do this simply send your message to:
'Grandpa' Al Lewis
PO Box 227
New York, NY 10044
If you do not want your name used over the air, be sure to
note that in your letter. If you want them to use your name,
give Grampa and Karen permission to do so.
Playboy Magazine, June 1999
An excerpt from the Playboy Forum article Snitch
The only way to avoid the maximum was to turn on your
confederates (or almost anyone else you could finger as a drug
dealer) and provide 'substantial assistance' to narcotics officers.
Federal prosecutors have an overwhelming conviction rate in
such cases, prompting Nora Callahan, an advocate for drug war
prisoners, to note that "there are thousands of people sitting
in prison because of bought testimony alone, with no other evidence
against them. It's an affront to justice, and to humanity itself.
And it's important to remember that this could happen to anyone,
to anyone's child."
On newstands in June,Glamour Magazine exposed the drug
war. While American women took advice on 19 Hair Envy Eliminators,
cellulite erasers, and were instructed on how to make a man worship
the ground you walk on -- they also learned about a drug policy
that has little to do with justice.
Glamour Magazine: June 1999
The cases of Amy Ralston Pofahl, Kemba Smith, Serena Nunn,
Kellie Mann and Monica Boguille were detailed in a lenghty feature
"The Anti-Drug Abuse Act has drawn sharp criticism, largely
because it penalizes low-level participants and drug users as
harshly or-as in Amy Pofahl's case-more harshly than people guilty
of running major drug operations."
Author David France explained conspiracy law, the overwhelming
resentment of our federal judges toward mandatory sentencing,
and refers to the women featured as "casualties of the drug
November Coalition's Susan Bobby, Judy Chancelor and
Family Watch's Jennifer Daley and June Gertig spoke to Redbook
readers about a Drug War gone awry. Under the headers "A
Disease or a Crime?", "The Real Casualties of the Drug
War", "The Value of a Life", "No More Secrets",
our mothers spoke out within the context of their personal and
tragic stories. Tessa DeCarlo authored a dramatic expose of mothers
who had lost their addicted teenagers to prison and death.
Redbook Magazine: June 1999
"If I can't say who I am, then I'm encouraging the stigma
surrounding addiction instead of fighting it," June Gertig
is quoted. "People need to know that when they talk about
addiction, they are talking about my family and people like us."